Allegheny County Council watchers know they can reliably expect a press release every two weeks or so from councilman Matt Drozd, a maverick in every since of the word. Though officially a Republican, he proudly says he owes allegiance to no one — and recently announced plans to switch his registration to independent to prove it.
He also lost the primary election to retain his seat. But stay with us.
He's recently picked a fight with fellow councilman Bob Macey, who has introduced legislation supporting the state Senate's proposed transportation bill, which is stalled on the floor.
Mr. Macry's resolution only pledges support, of course, as county council has no vote on the bill itself. But Mr. Dozd is going in whole hog anyways, with plans to introduce legislation of his own blasting the bill as a short-sighted tax increase.
He'll presumably announce this at tonight's council meeting. Submitted for your judgement, the press release is below.
Councilman Matt Drozd will introduce a motion to ask the General Assembly and the Governor to not make tax on PA gasoline the highest in the United States
2 July 2013 - At tonight’s regular meeting of County Council, Council Member Matt Drozd will introduce a motion in opposition to Senate Bill SB1*.
Though infrastructure support is needed, SB1 proposes one of the most significant tax increases in decades to support infrastructure financing that has been delayed by lawmakers for generations and now is falling heavy handedly on Pennsylvania citizens. Further, Counties and municipalities whose citizens are equally contributing to funding infrastructure repair will have no control over which projects are undertaken and there is no provision ensuring that a certain percentage of the repairs and renovations will be done locally. Also, the residents of Allegheny County and the Southwestern Pa region will bear the full brunt of the tax while they (Allegheny County and Southwestern Pa) will not receive their fair share (much less) of revenues in comparison to other major populated areas such as Philadelphia.
Contrary to what has been stated by proponents of SB1, Pittsburgh’s Port Authority could suffer additional harm due to SB1’s provisions due to increased control from the State and pitfalls that threaten to withhold matched funding.
Dramatic increases for penalties and fees within the provisions of SB1 will cause an undue burden on businesses and citizens of the Commonwealth and have been raised in some areas to such an extent that it could act to deter businesses from traversing the State.
However, the provision of most concern within SB1 is the plan to uncap the oil-franchise tax. SB 1 would remove the cap over three years, allowing the tax to be levied on the full wholesale price of gasoline and without prohibitions on the pass-through of the additional tax to consumers.
The tax on gasoline in Pennsylvania is already amongst the highest in the U.S. and if SB1 is passed as currently written, Pennsylvania will be the highest taxed state for liquid fuels with an average of 12 cents per gallon higher than the presently highest taxed state in the Nation, California. This would bring the cost of gas in the Pittsburgh area to over four dollars per gallon.
“This kind of tax on my constituents and the citizens of the Commonwealth is not the kind of solution to infrastructure issues that I can support especially in a time when families are struggling to make ends meet.”
*(Senate Bill 1, is sponsored by State Senator John Rafferty and co-sponsored by Senators Wozniak, Scarnati, Pileggi, Corman, Browne, Waugh, Robbins, Gordner, Erickson, White, Stack, Yaw, Vogel, Vulakovich, Brubaker, Smucker, Solobay, Tomlinson, Alloway, Vance, Mensch, Blake, Brewster, Teplitz, Dinniman, Schwank, Kitchen and Washington, passed the Senate Transportation Committee May 7th, and the Senate on June 5th and is currently before Allegheny County Council calling for Council to approve and support its provisions jointly with Chief Executive Fitzgerald)